Fine Gael Meath West TD, Ray Butler, has called for the country of origin to be included on all food packaging, as part of the new Consumer and Competition Bill. Deputy Butler raised the issue in the Dáil this week, with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
“Consumers are being led to believe that certain products are Irish by misleading labelling on food packaging. Unscrupulous producers know that the public would prefer to buy Irish, and as a result they are branding their food to make it look like it was produced here.
“Phrases like ‘Ireland’s favourite’ and ‘A product of Ireland’ give the impression to consumers that they are buying Irish, when in fact they may be buying foreign produce. This is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the facts.
“This is essentially a jobs issue. We want to encourage people to buy Irish, so we can support local producers and local jobs. I am calling for a clear and unambiguous labelling system to be introduced to ensure that the country of origin is displayed on all food products.
“We need to do everything we can to support our indigenous agri-food industry, which has been so successful in recent years. The sector has expanded rapidly in overseas markets, as well as performing well at home. Anything that threatens jobs in the sector must be challenged.
“The Taoiseach has confirmed to me that the Consumer and Competition Bill is due to be published later this year. I will be urging the Government to address this issue as part of the new legislation, to ensure we protect Irish jobs and provide assurance to consumers that they can buy Irish with confidence.”